Friday, July 30, 2010

Cherries and Blueberries for the Freezer

We're on our second summer now without our own fruit trees and while it does take some getting used to (and makes me very sad at peach and plum time in particular) I find that I am not overly sad to not have our two cherry trees to care for anymore.  I found cherry trees to be quite a bit of work to prune and maintain and they were the one fruit tree that I was never able to care for without spray due to the pesky cherry fruit fly.  These last two years I've gone to a local cherry orchard and spent a peaceful hour picking cherries in their trees and then gone home to pit and freeze them all.  Easy peasy.
We already had some in the freezer from a picking at a lovely friend's house and then we picked 25 more pounds to tuck away for winter smoothies.  When we had two huge trees worth of cherries to process I found this handy gadget to be a sanity (and finger) saver.  If you love cherries and you ever see one of these at a thrift store I highly recommend buying it.
It is quick and easy - a bit messy but nothing that a covering of newspaper won't solve (I used to do this outside at our old house simply because I was doing so many and didn't want their juice sprayed everywhere).  Once they are pitted I freeze them on cookie sheets and then put them into some re-cycled clear plastic salad containers.  My dear friend Katherine turned me onto this idea and I am so grateful for it, it keeps my freezers much more organized than when I used plastic freezer bags for all my fruit.
This is the start of filling our fruit freezer.
This year we went picking at a new-to-us place for blueberries (their first year doing U-pick), I was so pleased with this place. 
There were a ridiculous amount of delicious berries on each plant so the picking was easy, there were no sprays used and the growers were very friendly too.  For me, during this time without my own fruit trees and shrubs to pick from, it is so important to take my boys and myself to places where we can still pick our own fruit.  Thankfully we live in an area which supports growing all kinds of delicious fruit and we absolutely realize how very blessed we are.

Oh and since we were talking about blue things (right?) have a look at this lovely dish -another vacation second-hand find.


Jacqueline said...

LOVE the blue dish! Great find!

Katherine said...

Nothing like being able to pick fresh fruit. I miss that.
So how many freezers are to be filled this growing season?

Sweet looking blue dish! Is it a loaf pan?

Erin said...

Mmmm, we are off to gather blueberries down the road today. A short bike ride to unsprayed berries at $1/lb U-Pick. I too, am feeling rich in abundant berry goodness this year. And now I have a new (to us) larger freezer for freezing these antioxidant-rich gems. Interesting about the OK grower that comes to our farmers market said that their farm uses a honey-based organic spray to fight off the insects, and they are an organic orchard. Fascinating! The flies can feed on the honey and not on the cherries, I guess.

Love Katharine's and yours berry packing idea!!!

Heather said...

Katherine - It's a little smaller than a loaf pan, more of a small casserole dish. My mom has some even smaller ones of the same kind, they come with glass lids and are great for storing leftovers. This one had no lid but I'm sure I will eventually find one at a thrift store. ;-)

Erin - What a deal on the blueberries!! I was so excited to find these unsprayed ones for 1.95 a pound. Have fun with your picking and YAY on your freezer. I love the feeling of a full freezer come the end of September. Thanks for the info about the honey-based spray, how interesting. I picked mine from an organically sprayed orchard as well but I'm not sure if it was a honey spray. I've also heard that if you keep chickens then you will be unlikely to have cherry fruit fly.